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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indians have an incredible capacity to do work in short periods of time: Independent report finds no fresh Delhi concerns

Sep 16, 2010,New Zealand

The second report from an independent security firm engaged by the national netball and hockey bodies ahead of next month's Commonwealth Games, has raised no notable fresh concerns.

Netball New Zealand and Hockey New Zealand joined forces with their Australian counterparts in seeking extra information over and above that being provided by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

NNZ chief executive Raelene Castle was reluctant to comment on the specifics of the second report from Control Risks. However, she said no fresh issues were raised.

"They haven't raised anything significantly different than the concerns we were already aware of," she said yesterday.

NNZ and HNZ will continue to get information in the next few days as the October 3 opening of the Games draws nearer.

"We've got a plan in place which is close communications with the NZOC, and our own people we are talking to," she said.

"We'll have regular updates and make our decision once we get that final information back from the NZOC."

An NZOC team, including chef de mission Dave Currie, are in New Delhi doing checks on all aspects surrounding the Games, including security, transport, the state of sports facilities and the recent dengue fever outbreak.

Castle did not want to comment on Currie's criticism this week of NNZ and HNZ and the New Zealand Rugby Union, who have also received additional information, for going to an outside agency for additional security briefings. Currie said their move "defied logic".

The New Zealand Government's advisory service has downgraded the status of travel to New Delhi to its having "high risk" and removed the word "imminent" from the risk level around markets and places of interest.

The Australian Government's equivalent information lists New Delhi as requiring "a high degree of caution", on a scale ranging from "be alert" through to "do not travel", which applies to the troubled Jammu and Kashmir region in the north.

Its briefing notes state that "there is a high risk of terrorist attack in New Delhi".

Of specific concern to NNZ is the state of the court for the Games final, anticipated to be another transtasman joust on October 14.

Reports that the court was separating and unstable are concerning, but Castle is awaiting news from the NZOC and the International Federation of Netball Associations.

She said suggestions that the final might have to be played on a training court with no room for television facilities were a stretch. That was "Plan F" she said.

"There are still some things that need to be finalised and approved before we feel comfortable.

"[Setting aside security] it's about playing an international test in an environment that is suitable for a test."

Castle said having a court that was less than perfect was no reason on its own not to go to the Games.

"And it's not just netball we're talking about. There are a number of sports with a number of challenges."

Among those is swimming. On July 26, shortly before a test event, and not long after its unveiling, the ceiling gave way at the Prasad Mukherjee complex.

However Swimming New Zealand chief executive Mike Byrne remains confident.

"When I saw the pool [about eight weeks ago] it was hard to fathom how they could get it finished," he said yesterday.

"But one thing I learned there was the Indians have an incredible capacity to do work in short periods of time that defies the Kiwi way of doing things."

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